Running Man meets The Purge in Guns Akimbo, an absolutely over-the-top dark action-comedy.
Daniel Radcliffe stars as Miles, a video game programmer, and semi-professional online troll. He’s an aficionado of
Skizm, a real-life underground death-match series he gleefully comments on via various internet fora. Then, one day, he pisses the wrong person. The gang that runs the death-match breaks into Miles’s house and bolts guns to each of his hands. Miles is all of a sudden part of the game, pitted against a coked-up, seemingly insane Nix. They have twenty-four hours to kill or be killed.
Guns Akimbo is a bit of a fickle friend. It’s not a movie for everyone and is less of a film than a ninety-minute action scene. Even when the bullets aren’t flying, there’s an undercurrent suggesting things are about to pipe up again any second. More often than not, they do. If you’re looking for an introspective,
war, what is it good for? rumination, you’re out of luck.
Because I really don’t think Guns Akimbo has too much to say about anything. It’s over the top and is in that sense sort of a satire, but it really isn’t trying to make any deep-rooted statements. Will the next level of real-world e-sports involve us watching people killing each other? I doubt it, and Guns Akimbo doesn’t seem all too concerned about giving it much thought.
From a technical standpoint, though, it does play up the video game angles impressively. Be it first-person or third-person, director Jason Lei Howden – more commonly known as a visual effects artist – nails the aesthetics and frantic nature of the medium.
The music also fits the bill, and Enis Rotthoff’s score follows the ebbs and flow of the movie faithfully. When the action kicks in on screen, it hits your ears equally hard.
Guns Akimbo is a well put together film in that sense, which probably is the primary concern a filmmaker should have when creating an over-the-top action flick. You need a true smack to the senses to get that adrenaline pumping.
Not to take anything away from the cast, mind you. It’s great to see Daniel Radcliffe make crazy role choices like this after Harry Potter, and Samara Weaving gives Nix a perfect sociopathic vibe. A cameo from Rhys Darby? That’s something any movie can benefit from.
That doesn’t change the fact that Guns Akimbo is a one-note action overkill, but it’s a note that I enjoy nonetheless. If you’re looking for a crazy adrenaline rush, Guns Akimbo definitely fits the bill.